Island Home Baptist Church Cemetery

Since I’ve been spending so much time in South Knoxville lately, it made sense to make a stop at Island Home Baptist Church Cemetery. IHB 4
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The church and cemetery were established in 1860, although this is not the original church building.   Many South Knoxvillians of renown (meaning that streets and schools are named for them, even if you don’t know anything else about them!) were charter members.
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South Knoxvillians will recognize many names in this cemetery.
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This is a picturesque, nicely kept cemetery, with a minimum of breakage and brush.
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There were an unusual amount of stones with memorable epitaphs and ornamentation.
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Y’all know how the baby graves get to me.  Especially note the last in this series.
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I found this stone amusing–I suppose her name is a corruption of Perdita.  I have a great-great grandmother named Perlina, which may be a corruption of Paulina.
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This is a good cemetery to explore because it’s attractive, and not tiny but not so big that you couldn’t look at every stone, if you wanted to.
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Finally, it’s always a good surprise to find a relative where you least expect one!  I only spent a few minutes checking, but I’m pretty sure this lady was my fourth cousin once removed. Update:  A reader sent me the link to her photo and obituary.  She sounds like a lovely person.
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And now I am caught up and can visit a new graveyard this weekend to share with you.

Walking in South Knoxville: Forks of the River WMA

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Look!  It’s the beginning of another path to explore in South Knoxville!
Actually, this is a post about many paths.  Many, many paths, which you can find at the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area, one of the stops along the South Knox Loop and part of the  Knoxville Urban Wilderness.
Emily and I have spent part of two Saturdays here so far, and it will take us at least two more to make sure we hit all the trails (so we can cross them off and eventually get a badge for walking every trail in the wilderness).  I have been especially excited about walking here because years ago when we would walk on the Will Skelton Greenway (it runs along the river on the outskirts of the WMA) we used to wonder about all the rest of the land and wish that we dared to walk on some of the paths we saw.  And now we can!
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The Will Skelton Greenway doesn’t start here, of course–it begins at Island Home Park and skirts Ijams before it reaches this point.  The first part of it isn’t even part of the South Loop.  It’s paved and you plan a walk that would include some of the WMA trails and Ijams trails (that’s what we did on our recent visit.).
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Besides the Tennessee and French Broad Rivers, visitors to the WMA will get to enjoy creeks as well.  Don’t you love the soothing sound they make?
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We got a little turned around on the trails the first time we came, but that won’t happen again thanks to the app I told y’all about already.  This last time we just looked at the little dot on our phones if we weren’t sure which way we should be going!  But the trails are well marked for those of you who like your nature technology-free.
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This place abounds with beautiful views.  There are meadow views . . .
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Woodland views . . .FOW 8
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And river views . . .
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What I love most (and can’t stop taking pictures of) are the wildflowers.
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One thing to keep in mind:  hunting is allowed here, so be careful.  Stay on the trails.  The different hunting seasons are posted and you might want to make note of when it’s likely to be more populated with hunters if you are concerned.
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Next time you feel like hiking in the mountains, go the the WMA instead.  Save yourself some gas and see the surprising places a path right here in Knoxville can lead!
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Walking in South Knoxville 2: The William Hastie Natural Area

Years ago, when my big kids were little, any walking I did consisted of pushing a double stroller around our South Knoxville (Lake Forest) neighborhood, Emily walking at my side.  I couldn’t go very fast, but I got exercise on the hills!
Occasionally, we’d make it as far as the dead end at Post Oak Road.  This intrigued us, because where the road ended there were some rocks blocking a KUB access road, and we were very curious about that path and where it might lead.  So curious, in fact, that when the kids were old enough to go walking sans stroller, the five of us walked it to where it ended at Margaret Lane, a little road off Sevierville Pike.  Along the way we spotted a sinkhole with an abandoned car in it and the body of a raccoon frozen solid by a pond.  Ah, memories.
Needless to say, things have changed at what is now officially the William Hastie Natural Area.  Y’all, you are going to amazed at all the wild and empty land that’s back there.  I am once again so proud of Knoxville for saving this land for all of us to enjoy instead of attempting to level the hills to plant some bland subdivisions.
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That’s the sign at the end of Post Oak Road, but I wouldn’t recommend you start there.  In fact, I wouldn’t even recommend you drive down there at all if you don’t live there, because not only is there nowhere to park, it will require about a 15-point turn to get yourself out of the dead end.  Instead, you want to drive to the end of Margaret Lane, but be careful, because the official entrance includes a very narrow road.
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You’ll find these helpful signs at every trailhead in the South Loop system.  And what’s even better, there’s an app for that!  Yes, there is.  It’s called PDF Maps, and it’s free.  You are going to want to go here for instructions and how to get it.  You will show up on it as a little moving dot, so you can’t get lost!
Another tip as you start walking these trails:  there are signs marking the difficulty of the trails.  But pay no attention to these if you are walking.  They are geared toward the bikers, and the challenges to someone riding a bike are very different.  I haven’t had any trouble on trails that had the highest difficulty level.
We have done approximately half of the trails contained in the William Hastie Natural Area.  Here are a few things we saw that day:
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I just love taking pictures of paths.  I do it almost every time we go walking.
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Wildflowers are a big attraction on every path in the South Loop system so far.
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These fallen trees were near the top of the trail that leads into the View Park neighborhood.  There the trail system continues through Marie Myers Park, but that’s a story for another day.
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Emily rescued this little fellow from possible death by bike by moving him to the side of the trail.
Here’s the pond now, with no raccoons in evidence, frozen or otherwise:
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Next time, maybe I will write about the Forks of the River trails, or the Ijams trails, or maybe the ones in the private land easement near Anderson School.  There are so many!
But don’t just take my word for it, y’all.  Virtual tours are nice, but no substitute for actually being there, and reading about walking isn’t exercise.  I started getting healthy barely over two months ago.  Slight hills were torture.  I started with mile-long walks on paved trails.  Yesterday we did about four miles, in warm weather, with lots of evil hills.  I’ve lost at least twenty pounds. and there’s great satisfaction in feeling your muscles do what God meant them to do.

Walking in South Knoxville

This is WAY too big a topic for just one post, y’all.  If you want to go hiking but you don’t feel like driving to the mountains, South Knoxville is the place for you.  And I’m not just talking Ijams, even though we all know how wonderful that is.
But let me back up for a minute. I grew up a Northwest Knoxville girl, and South Knoxville was that place with all the kudzu that we entered approximately three times per year, if that: twice a year to visit our dentist whose office was on Taliwa, just a couple of miles down Chapman Highway; and maybe once for our all-too-infrequent trips to Metcalf Bottoms in the Smokies.
But then I grew up, got married, had three kids, and needed to live in a house instead of an apartment.  Our first home was in the Lake Forest neighborhood of South Knoxville, on the dogwood trail, and I quickly grew to appreciate this underrated part of my hometown.  One of its charms then and now was the large parts of it that remained undeveloped–its topography is less hospitable to sprawl than the erstwhile farmland of West Knoxville.
Thankfully all that Urban Wilderness is now forever safe from McMansions.  Instead we have 40 miles of walking and biking trails with a 12.5 mile loop connecting them all.  Emily and I are working up to walking that whole loop in one day some time this fall, but in the meantime we are hitting the trails every weekend, hoping to walk on them all and get the official patch!
So far we have walked from Island Home Park (this was on the Will Skelton Greenway and not officially part of the Urban Wilderness Loop) to Ijams to walk on some of the trails there.  Of course, we’ve walked all the Ijams trails many a time, but we are doing them all again and probably need one more trip over there to finish them up for the patch.   We spent one afternoon doing some of the trails in the William Hastie Natural Area, and Saturday we started exploring the Forks of the River Trails.  Each of these places deserves a post to itself, so that’s what I am going to do.  And I encourage you to come out and explore the Urban Wilderness for yourselves.

View from the Ijams River Trail
View from the Ijams River Trail